|This is the book. Buy it, read it, learn from it.|
You'll be glad you did.
I do use his plant spacings. I have found for my self that this is the best part of his concept. The idea is that you ignore the row spacings because you are not planting in rows. If a plant needs to be centered 6 inches from the next one in a row, then it can be centered 6 inches from the next one to the side also. That fits well in a square garden idea.
|These are onions that I grew, spaced at 9 per square foot.|
I have been using a square measure with plants evenly spaced along both the length and width of the growing bed. I've recently discovered (see, I'm learning, too!) that if I stagger the rows, I can plant even closer. I'll do a post on that later.
I do grow in raised beds into which I have put my soil. These are permanent structures that we built when we reclaimed a huge berm in my back yard. When we bought the house, the back wall had a ginormous earth berm gowing up to the base of the block wall. It was over twelve feet high and extended into the yard about 20 feet. The lot behind me is 18 feet higher than my lot and rather than have sloping yards, the developer built berms. We, my family and friends, cut this back to 12-feet out from the wall and raised it in 3-foot lifts so I have three, 3-foot by 75-foot terraces that are my garden. Since the native "soil" is nothing more than rock, we hauled out dozens of truckloads of rock and hauled in dozens of yards of "soil." This soil was about a 50/50 split of sand and "organic material," mostly rice hulls. Still crappy, but if you put enough compost into it, you can get stuff to grow.
|This is a photo from Square Foot Gardening.org's website showing the 1/3 compost|
1/3 peat moss and 1/3 vermiculite mix that is Mel's mix.
Third, Mel recommends placing a grid of plastic or wood or string in the garden dividing the growing area into 1-foot-square planting spaces. I look at that as a waste of time and materials and a colossal hassle. It might work for some, but it doesn't work for me.
|Another photo from their website. This shows a beautiful set of|
4x4-foot grow beds with a white plastic lattice-work at 12-inch
spacing. Makes a pretty picture, but gets in my way.Your experience may differ.
I have built and used a 3-foot square frame with 9, 1-foot squares outlined in heavy cord. I use that tool to help me plant my beds but I don't leave it there. If I put seedlings or transplants in, I know where the squares are and if I plant seeds, I will know soon enough. A permanent grid doesn't make sense to me, especially after the first planting.
So, am I a square-foot gardener? I guess the best answer is, "Sort of."
Now the next question is, "Am I a Back-to-Eden gardener?"